As discussed in an older blog last fall, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had originally made plans to significantly decrease the funding for Section 340B drugs. This change would have seen a significant drop in reimbursement for facilities implementing the 340B Medicare Drug Pricing Program; once in effect it would have lowered the paid amount to 22.5% below the average sales price. But thanks to another delay, these hospitals and other facilities won’t have to worry quite yet.
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the organization in charge of administering Section 340B of the Public Health Service Act, enforcing this change before addressing the full extent of the policy’s rules would cause more harm than good. As a result, they have opted to push implementation of the reimbursement change from July 1st, 2018 back to July 1st, 2019–the fifth such time that they have delayed this same policy.
According to the latest proposal, “The HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is in the process of developing new comprehensive policies to address the rising costs of prescription drugs. Those policies will address drug pricing in government programs, such as Medicare Parts B and D, Medicaid, and the 340B discount drug program. Accordingly, we are proposing to delay the effective date of the final rule entitled ‘340B Drug Pricing Ceiling Price and Manufacturer Civil Monetary Penalties Regulation.”
The HRSA is currently accepting public comments on the Section 340B changes until May 22nd, but this leaves relatively little time compared to the 60 or even 90 days that usually accompany such proposals. If you work for a facility that will be affected by this change, be sure to submit your comments soon so that your voice can be heard before the window closes. And as always, stay on the lookout for further updates so that you can adapt accordingly.